Much like a muscle that atrophies with disuse, any right that goes unexercised for many years devolves into a privilege, and eventually can even be redefined as a crime.
Is this really true? I haven’t exercised my Third Amendment rights ever in my lifetime. I don’t know too many other folks who have either. Yet the Third Amendment is doing so well, the government hardly ever violates it. Additionally, despite a dearth of case law, those which have come up ruled pretty decisively in favor of the right of the citizen. Further, no one seriously argues that the Third Amendment is wrong and ought to be repealed. The Third Amendment is doing pretty well despite falling into disuse!
Now, let’s take a look from the other side. People exercise the right of home ownership pretty regularly, and we trek about with our persons, papers and personal effects on a regular basis. Yet it takes the barest of any pretext for the police to search the ever loving crap out of your personage and vicinity, because most searches have been deemed “reasonable” by the courts. If the Second Amendment ends up being in as poor a shape as the 4th Amendment, by the time all this is said and done, I’ll cry.
I think this is a eloquent way to simply a complex issue to the point where it’s a pleasing thing to think, but doesn’t reflect reality. The answer is the loss of rights is a lot more complex than whether you use it or not, and our community shouldn’t delude itself into thinking otherwise.
According to a very initial report from WOWK, it seems the criminal charges against the West Virginia teenager who wore an NRA t-shirt to school have been dropped.
As Sebastian said when I informed him of this update, the news of the dropped charges should have come with an apology letter that acknowledges they never should have brought them in the first place. Obviously, that’s unlikely.
I was hearing reports about attempts to organize rallies, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones who highlighted that the judge who banned the media from the courthouse in this case and the district attorney who oversees the two prosecutors who not only brought charges, but then tried to silence the boy and his family, are elected. They can still be sent home during the next election.
A government-approved contract staffer decided to release just enough information to give people the heads up that there is a surveillance program happening that many people may not find to be constitutional. Yet, the media who so obviously support Obama decide that the reporter who broke the story must be punished for the crime of reporting something unfavorable to the government.
In West Virginia, we see something similar happening when it comes to reporting the story of a prosecutor going after a minor for wearing a pro-Second Amendment t-shirt. When the tide turns against the government agent, the judge orders the reporter barred from the courthouse to keep her from filing a petition on behalf of the press in a gag order hearing and the bailiff enforcing the ban threatened the reporter with arrest after reaching to take her camera and microphone. The prosecutor apparently claimed that the state was trying to silence the teen’s legal team and family for their own good.
Dear West Virginia freedom supporters: The judge who ordered the media banned from the courthouse is elected. You can fix this and send him a message about limits on his power. The prosecutor overseeing the two staff attorneys who insist that court orders silencing defendants are the best things for society and individuals is also elected, and his name is John W. Bennett. There you go; you have tools to make positive changes in your local community. (h/t to Miguel for the link on the WV case)
Clearly, there’s not such an epidemic of questionable spying document dumping in this country that these two things are directly related, but I don’t think they are completely unrelated, either. It’s a sad day when we pretty much joke about how practically everyone is a criminal these days because they’ve probably cross some regulation they never even knew existed.
This is exactly the kind of crap that had civil libertarians so disgusted with the previous administration that they decided to give Team Donk a chance, and look what they got in exchange: A bad punchline of an Executive branch. “They told me if I voted for McCain that secret intel organizations would Hoover up all the phone records of every American, and they were right!” Har-de-har-har. It was funny the first thirty-seven times.
And what’s the Mainstream Media doing? Hiding smoking guns like a lovestruck teenager for her gangster boyfriend. If you guys were manning the bridge in ’73, you’d be doing special investigative reports on why security guards should mind their own business when they see a taped door lock. It could be taped for national security reasons! And George Bush taped locks, too!
It always annoys me greatly when people bring up the “Bush did it!” excuse, like that’s some kind of “Get out of Jail Free” card they can play — like everyone else is the same kind of partisan hack as people who assert this defense seem to be. Well, you know, I thought Bush was an asshole too, so what’s your point? In fact, given Bush’s approval ratings at the end of his second term, I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in this sentiment.
Mother Jones discovers building your own gun is legal. The horror! Except there’s some question that the bullet button device on the AK wouldn’t comply with California law because it’s placed too far back, which would allow the magazine to still be detached without the use of a tool. I’m not an expert on this, but I wonder if any of the irony strikes him.
I don’t think being wary of civil liberties violating tactics makes one anti-cop. I’m willing to give the police pretty wide berth to apprehend (or kill) violent subjects, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to at least pretend to respect the civil liberties of the people you’re sworn to protect, and to actually be able to hit what you’re aiming at.
We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and it seems more and more apparent we’re a nation of bureaucrats and enforcers, who believe the law to be optional, or at least pliable. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is a population who seems to have no issue with this state of affairs, as long as it’s not their goose being cooked, and there’s some vague and comforting idea of being made safe.
UPDATE: On the opposite side of the coin, a lot of College Professors don’t live in the real world (not any real surprise, I suppose). If the cops in and around Boston had turned the bombers into swiss cheese in the shootout, I would want to give them a high five. It’s what was done to everyone else who wasn’t the bombers I have a hard time with.
Bloomberg thinks we’re going to have to change what we think of the Constitution after Boston. I think right now the Constitution is more important than ever.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Our greater level of security that we had back in the “olden days,” is due to the fact that it was a society where people looked out after each other and their own. Today, especially in places like Boston and New York, citizens expect the government to do everything for them, and the more government does, the less it does anything particularly well. Even Boston is illustrative of the utter failure of government. It wasn’t until the lockdown was lifted that an observant citizen decided to take a look in his boat, and sure enough… terrorist in his boat. Again, just like 9/11, it was citizens that caught him, even with all the Forth Amendment violations the police were using. Police work better with an engaged citizenry than a bunch of passive sheep.
What if instead of doing house to house searches they asked everyone to go and inspect their yards, sheds, and yes, boats (as I think most of us would have wanted to do if this had been going on in our neighborhood)? Well, we can’t have that. Someone might get hurt. But having the King’s men spraying bullets all over a suburban neighborhood and pointing guns at the good citizenry while they go door to door searching? Well, you can trust us, we’re professionals, from the government, and here to help.